2009 Notebook: Weak XXVII
gratuitous image
2 July 2009
No. 8,171 (cartoon)
Are you still drinking heavily?

I don’t recall.

3 July 2009
Great Show, No Encore
There are many fine deaths a musician may choose when signing out: drug overdose, shotgun blast to the face, drug overdose, semisuicidal motorcycle accident, drug overdose, drowning in the vomit following a drug overdose, that sort of thing. But Mark Sandman died the musician’s preferred death.

There he was ten years ago today, performing with his ensemble Morphine on stage at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, when BANG: heart attack. Lights out at forty-six, no encore. Finito; quick and clean.

Forty-six is certainly a better age at which to die than twenty-seven, an expiration date enjoyed by a number of famous musicians. More importantly, Sandman was doing his best work when he died, unlike musicians such as Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney who should have retired one way or the other when they were twenty-seven.

Sandman left the audience wanting more; what a great way for a musician to go.

4 July 2009
Independence Considerations
Today is Independence Day in the United States. Dr. Wiles’ inamorata took advantage of the holiday to announce that she’d decided to be independent from him, and that was that.

After expressing my sympathy for his solitary plight, I gently pointed out that such a development was predictable since most of his relationships follow a similar trajectory. I was surprised when Dr. Wiles agreed with my assessment of his predicament.

“Expectation is a dangerous four-letter word,” he proclaimed.

What right-thinking person could possibly disagree?

5 July 2009
The Fifth versus the Fourth
The fourth day of July is celebrated as the day in 1776 when a bunch of white guys declared that the nascent United States was independent of another bunch of white guys ruling Britain.

That’s not much of a holiday for me; people can—and do—make grandiose promises, all the time. I think the fifth day of July is the day that should be remembered; that’s when everyone had to sober up and get to work.

6 July 2009
The Colonel’s Gasoline
Colonel Sanders, née Harland David Sanders, is renowned for establishing a chain of restaurants selling greasy chicken when he was sixty-five, and after receiving over a thousand rejections to his audacious, high-cholesterol proposal.

I remember the ersatz colonel for his observation, “Wine tastes like gasoline.”

I like that, if only because I know he said that after eating chicken he cooked in motor oil.

7 July 2009
Music Memory
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I just purloined a digital copy of a record album I enjoyed when I was a teenager.

I’m appreciating the strange experience of listening to songs I haven’t heard in decades; it’s unnerving that I remember them so very clearly. I can’t understand why I recall almost every part of a tune I haven’t heard in decades, even though I can’t remember where I was living at the time. I’ll never confuse John Dawson Winter III with Aleksandr Nikolaevich Scriabin, but the clarity of my music memory is unnerving.

I wish such a gift was of some practical use, but that’s the antithesis of art.

8 July 2009
The Luckiest Man on the Moon?
This afternoon, I listened to a radio interview with Alan Bean, the fourth human to walk on the moon. He was promoting his mediocre paintings, so it’s a good thing he chose a radio show to hawk his amateurish work.

I enjoyed the interview though, if only for Bean’s response to the obligatory question, “What is it like to walk on the moon?”

“It’s a moment where you feel like the luckiest guy on earth,” Bean explained.

When he safely returned to earth in 1969, I wonder if he felt like the luckiest guy on the moon?

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©2009 David Glenn Rinehart